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|Floppy Disk Drives|
A floppy disk is a flexible plastic disk which is coated with magnetic material and covered by a protective jacket, which is used primarily to store the data from the computer to store data magnetically. The floppy disk is also called diskette. The floppy’s are not longer standard equipment on computers.
In the early 1990s, the floppy was the only method for distributing software and was widely used for backup. In the mid-1990s, the floppy market came down and the CD-ROM was booming. The floppy has a flexible circle of magnetic material similar to magnetic tape, except that both sides are used. The read and write head contacts the surface through an opening in the envelope. Floppies can spin at a speed of 300 RPM, which is almost 10 times slower than a hard disk. They are also at rest until a data transfer is requested.
Following are the three different types of floppies found in market:
Generally a floppy of size 3.5" rigid and a capacity of 1.44MB is used widely in the market.
The floppy of size 5.25" flexible with a capacity of 1.2MB is also found but used rarely.
The floppy of size 8" flexible with a capacity of 100 - 500KB is used to carry small amount of data.
Although floppy disks look the same, what is recorded on them determines their capacity and compatibility. Every new floppy must need to be formatted which records the sectors on the disk that hold the data. Unlike most hard disks, floppy disks are portable, because you can remove them from a disk drive.
Disk drives for floppy disks are called floppy drives which are provided by almost all systems. Floppy disks are slower to access than hard disks and have less storage capacity, but they are much less expensive. While the drives are generally quite reliable and will last for many years if given even a modicum of reasonable care, the media are in fact quite unreliable in my experience. The condition of the drive will contribute to the older drive that is dirty and misaligned will cause many more problems than a newer drive that is clean and aligned properly.
Even so, failure of floppy disk media is more a matter of when than if. Floppy disk media is in many cases even worse; competition among manufacturers is frequently based on cost only, since the media is viewed as a commodity item and not something for which quality matters. The floppy disk technology contributes to provide low reliability. While hard disks have the complex task of dealing with a very fast spinning disk and read/write heads floating very near to them on a cushion of air, they do this in a tightly controlled environment. The head assembly is sealed, and is fixed and rigid.
Data stored on floppy disks is also subject to loss as a result of stray magnetic fields. As far as floppy disks are concerned, they are reliable only for short-term storage and cannot be used longer and no attempts should be made to save the data for a longer period, if as the magnetic fields weakens the data will also be lost. It is always a good habit to make two copies of the file on two floppies in case one goes bad.
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